Monday, September 12, 2011

The Battle of Chapultepec

The Battle of Chapultepec, west of Mexico City, began on September 12, 1847, between U.S. forces under Gen. Winfield Scott and a Mexican garrison under Lt. Col. Felipe Xicoténcatl. Franklin Pierce, who would become the 12th President of the United States in 1853, participated as a brigadier general.

One hundred years later, the site was visited by another U.S. president, and 50 years after that, yet another. "On March 5, 1947 President Harry S. Truman was on the next to last day of a three-day whirlwind visit to Mexico," notes "Departing from his prepared agenda, he announced that he wanted to make a stop at Mexico City's historic Chapultepec Castle. As the motorcade came to a halt by a grove of trees, Truman stepped out of his black Lincoln and walked over to a stone monument reading Niños Heroes ('Heroic Children').

Monument to the Heroic Cadets, Mexico City

"These were the six cadets who committed suicide during the Mexican-American War by leaping from the castle battlements rather than surrender. Truman laid a wreath on the monument and then stood for a few moments of silent reverence. All the while a contingent of contemporary Mexican cadets, some with tears streaming down their cheeks, stood at rigid attention.

"Truman's action, duplicated 50 years later by Bill Clinton, made him Mexico's all-time most popular U.S. president."

No comments: